The Minnesota Vikings declined the fifth-year option on a Teddy Bridgewater‘s contract this week, but that doesn’t mean the team is done with the quarterback.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, coach Mike Zimmer said he’s more hopeful the 24-year-old will be able to return at some point.

“I love Teddy Bridgewater,” Zimmer said, via The Star Tribune. “The guy is working his rear end off and continues to fight every single day. Everything about him, when he’s rehabbing and doing the work he has to do is the exact same way he approaches life, so. I’m excited.

“I’m probably more optimistic now about him potentially playing than I have at any point in time. But he still has a long way to go.”

Zimmer’s comments are noteworthy because the coach previously admitted he wasn’t sure if Bridgewater would ever be healthy enough to play in the NFL again.

Bridgewater is nine months removed from suffering a dislocated knee and torn ACL. He has been rehabbing at the team’s training facility during offseason workouts.

If Bridgewater is on the physically unable to perform list this year his contract could toll, keeping him on the Vikings in 2018.

With Zimmer’s optimism about Bridgewater’s recovery, perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Teddy B in Minnesota.

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